Can the Miami Heat survive without a home crowd?

A general view of American Airlines Arena after the game between the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
A general view of American Airlines Arena after the game between the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Miami Heat crowds have been criticized in the past, but the impact of home court has been an advantage this season. How will they fare without it?

In football, they are considered the 12th man.

In basketball, they can be just as valuable as the sixth man. Whatever you label them, fans are an integral part of the success of plenty of teams, especially the Miami Heat.

Fans as an organization’s backbone have become one of the main reasons why teams fight for home-court advantage. The energy that they bring is a vibe no one can deny.

This is evident when you hear the sound of “dos minutos” ringing through the American Airlines Arena or the hum of the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army buzzing through the building. Yet these staples will not be heard beyond the possibility of being piped in with the help of NBA 2K sounds.

Either way, it won’t be the same once the last eight games of the season resume on July 31st. Neither would the unlikely–and not advised–proposition of allowing teams with pseudo home court seeding to bring their arena flooring into the makeshift Orlando bubble.

That means Miami faces the fate of no home crowds and no confines of their own arena if they remain a top-four team in the Eastern Conference.

In the grand scheme of things, this is not a big deal with what is going on worldwide. In basketball terms, however, an empty arena could cripple one of the Heat’s top advantages.

A few of the Miami Heat youth particularly, and the team as a whole, have played much better on their home floor at American Airlines Arena.

During the 2018-19 season, the Heat sported a losing record regardless of where they played. Fast forward to their 2019-20 campaign and the team is 27-5 at home and 14-19 on the road. This makes a lot of sense considering Miami sported the seventh-best attendance record this season.

Not only do they have a winning record in Miami, but they average 8.4 more points per game (116.4) with their field goal (48.7) and three-point (40.9) percentages up three and five percentage points.

Beyond that, the numbers bare truth to the thought that young players thrive more in front of support. Bam Adebayo and Derrick Jones Jr’s statistics are pretty consistent whether they are in Biscayne Bay or away. However, the numbers ring differently for Miami’s top scorers.

At home, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, and Kendrick Nunn are putting up 13.9, 13.9, and 17.3 points per game, on a combined 48.7 percent from the field and 44.0 percent from three.

Outside of the American Airlines Arena, Robinson averages 12.7 points per game on 43.2 percent shooting from the field and 39.9 from three. Which is down 7.2 and 10.1 percentage points, respectively.

Along those same lines, Herro drops 2.1 points, 7.3 percent from the field, and 5.6 percent from three, while Nunn dips 3.1 points and a total of 11.4 percent shooting from everywhere. Could this trail of inconsistencies sack the Heat’s postseason at the neutral Walt Disney Resort site?

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Only time will tell if the Miami young guns will find complete confidence in a gym full of artificial sounds or if they will give Jimmy Butler something to be angry about.